The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee of MPs has recommended that Defra withdraw permission for three neonicotinoid-based pesticides, citing possible effects on bee populations.
It urged a precautionary moratorium on the use of the three - imidacloprid, clothianidin and TMX – on flowering crops attractive to pollinators from January next year.
Chair of the committee Joan Walley MP said:
"Defra seems to be taking an extraordinarily complacent approach to protecting bees given the vital free service that pollinators provide to our economy.
"If farmers had to pollinate fruit and vegetables without the help of insects it would cost hundreds of millions of pounds and we would all be stung by rising food prices.
"Defra Ministers have refused to back EU efforts to protect pollinators and can’t even come up with a convincing plan to encourage bee-friendly farming in the UK."
The news comes within a week of a Defra study which claimed to show no damage to pollinator populations in trials of neonicotinoids under what it termed "natural conditions".